Posted on June 14, 2011
Mattel Lacks Mettle
Another victim of liberal "dialogue"
In September of 2000, Republican congresswoman Helen Chenoweth-Hage of Idaho attended a public hearing about wildfires at the University of Montana. It was there that a young environmentalist stormed to the front of the lecture hall, shouted, "you are the greatest threat to the forest," and struck her with a pie filled with rotten salmon. After his removal, a recess had to be called so that Rep. Chenoweth-Hage could clean all the fishy bits out of her hair and clothing. That's what happens to people who try to sit down and reason with liberal activists.
This is a lesson that corporate executives never seem to learn. Every time some interest group demands to have a "dialogue," they come running to show their eagerness to get along. In the end, they always get walloped with the proverbial rancid salmon pie, but they never see it coming, no matter how often it happens. The latest example of this involves a protest by Greenpeace against Mattel, manufacturer of the Barbie doll. If the connection between the two is not apparent to you, that's only because you are sane.
Eight Greenpeace members rappelled down the side of the company's headquarters, and unfurled a banner featuring Barbie's boyfriend Ken, saying, "Barbie, it's over. I don't date girls that are into deforestation." The accusation is that the packaging Mattel uses for its dolls is destroying the "rain forests."
This stunt prompted the following statement from Mattel, which ought to serve as a tutorial on how not to deal with liberals: "We have been in communication with Greenpeace on a variety of paper sourcing issues. We are surprised and disappointed that they have taken this inflammatory approach. We will continue to assess our paper sourcing and packaging improvements as we move forward."
Since when has Greenpeace earned such expectations of civility that one might be surprised and disappointed by its lack of same? Its members are not responsible or well-meaning people. To consult them over the conduct of your business is like taping a "kick me" sign to your own back.
Where does it end? Will Mattel start manufacturing dolls out of biodegradable corn oil? Perhaps Barbie will sell her gas-guzzling convertible, and utilize light rail transit instead. It doesn't matter, because there will always be another demand, until the liberal activists have succeeded in destroying their corporate enemies. Out of self-preservation, Mattel will eventually have to say no, at which time it will suffer the inevitable fish-slapping.
Look at what's happened to McDonald's. The liberal "wellness" goons sought the demise of Ronald McDonald, arguably the most successful corporate mascot of all time. The restaurant chain refused, but in doing so bragged about all the craven capitulations it had made up until that point. Ronald has lost weight, and started wearing a jogging suit to encourage kids to exercise. His McDonaldland friends have all been exterminated, never again to tempt the children with their evil cheeseburgers, fries and shakes. The corporation contributes money for the prevention of childhood obesity. Alas, the liberals' demands kept coming, and McDonald's finally had to say no. Enjoy your salmon mousse, Ronald.
If those milksops at Mattel had the right attitude toward Greenpeace, they would have been prepared to turn their enemies' tactics to their own advantage. By being unapologetic about the fact that they actually package their products, they could have used the attack in an impromptu advertising campaign. "Will Ken really leave Barbie? Buy the dolls and decide for yourself."
McDonald's could likewise have turned the tables on its foes by launching a "Save McDonaldland" campaign. Grimace and the rest of the endangered creatures could have been threatened by bulldozer-driving, fun-hating liberal bullies. Instead, "Big Food" has accepted the premise that its very existence is immoral, and has deliberately harmed its own business in hopes of being granted absolution. To its dismay, this self-flagellation has only been taken as an admission of guilt, and therefore an invitation to further punishment.
Defiance should always be the first reaction to a liberal activist campaign, not a last resort. There's nothing to gain from negotiating with people who have nothing with which to bargain. What did Mattel think it would get in exchange for its past concessions. Peace? Where have we heard that before?
Liberal activists don't have any power that isn't given to them by misguided normal people. Don't invite them to the table with you in the first place, and you'll never have to become involved in one of their food fights.
Return to Shinbone
The Shinbone: The Frontier of the Free Press
Mailbag . Issue Index . Politimals